The Red Sox are a little banged up right now, which is less an excuse for their recent uninspiring play and more just a matter of fact. They are without arguably two of their top three starting pitchers, their starting third baseman, another rotation piece, the guy who was supposed to be their everyday second baseman and their starting catcher, at least before he got hurt. Do they have the same level of injuries as the Yankees? Probably not! Is it in any way, shape or form a competition? Certainly not! Anyway, tangent over. Here are some updates on the injured Red Sox players.
- Chris Sale is obviously the most important player on the shelf, and the team is still concentrating on getting him right for October. That probably means they’d like to hold him out until the second or third week of September, but the Yankees could change those plans if they continue to sneak their way up the division ranks. To that end, Sale is starting to get ready. The ace has thrown off flat ground for two consecutive days, which is the first step in working back. For whatever it may be worth, he said his shoulder feels like Paul Bunyon’s ox, which is a little weird since Paul Bunyon is the stronger being in that metaphor, but I think we get the point. There’s no schedule laid out for Sale, but the gears are working towards a return.
- There may not be a schedule for Sale, but Eduardo Rodriguez is another important piece in the rotation and there is indeed a schedule for the lefty. After making two solid-to-good rehab outings in Portland over the last week or so, Rodriguez is set to make his return to the rotation. The Red Sox are waiting until September 1 when rosters expand, but we’ll see him start as soon as the calendar flips. Rodriguez will take Hector Velazquez’ place in the rotation and start on Saturday. We’ll have more later in the week on what to look for in his return to the majors.
- A similar schedule has been laid out for Christian Vazquez. In the catcher’s absence, Sandy León has stepped up as a leader of the pitching staff and Blake Swihart has flashed some of that upside we all know is there, so it’s not entirely clear how Alex Cora will handle Vazquez’ return. He doesn’t have much time left to figure it out. The catcher has played in rehab games each of the last two nights, and like Rodriguez he will be reinstated to the roster on Saturday after rosters expand.
- The injury to Rafael Devers has, in my mind, been underplayed a bit, though I understand why. The young third baseman was struggling mightily before he got hurt, and really hadn’t made a huge impact when healthy. Additionally, Eduardo Núñez has been solid-to-good filling in at third base. Still, Devers obviously has the edge in terms of upside and if he catches fire in September he’d dramatically lengthen the lineup for the postseason. To that end, he’s set to begin a rehab assignment on Wednesday and he should be back for the weekend series in Chicago.
- Steven Wright is always a point of contention among fans, as there are wildly varying opinions about the knuckleball and those opinions guide your opinion of the player. The righty was solid in his run in the rotation, though he certainly wasn’t perfect. He made his first rehab appearance on Tuesday for Pawtucket and should be ready to contribute in September, but it won’t be back in the rotation. The plan is for him to serve as a multi-inning arm out of the bullpen, and he’s fighting for time among Drew Pomeranz and Hector Velazquez.
- There were some whispers that Dustin Pedroia still thinks he could return this year. I don’t buy it, but I figured it should be mentioned.